By Randy Cowling
OMAHA, Neb. (BP)--Jenny Bressel really didn't know what to expect at
her first evangelism conference as she headed to Omaha for a couple of
days with her youth group from First Southern Baptist Church of Salina,
The unexpected happened, however, at the host hotel. Trapped in an
elevator for almost 90 minutes, Bressel turned to her FAITH. Standing by a
South African airline pilot she began to share what God had done for her.
"I've grown up more [spiritually] in these two days than I
thought," said the high school senior.
Bressel was among 1,200-plus youth and adults who gathered for annual
"In. D.E.P.T.H." evangelism training at Omaha's Doubletree Hotel
The pilot's name was Alex is all Jenny remembers. But what she will
never forget is that Alex prayed to receive Jesus as his Savior.
Georgia Hickman, one of the group's sponsors, also was confined to the
stuck elevator with two other members of the youth group, Ashley Pound and
"There we were with about 10 people in the elevator. Jenny just
asked the man the transition question," said Hickman, 79, a veteran
of youth mission trips. "He said, 'I do not have any idea what it
means to be saved.' So we started sharing with him.
"He had never heard the story about Jesus' birth and death.
Whenever he had a question, Ashley and Jessica would help show him a Bible
It was Hickman who asked the airline pilot if he would like to pray to
accept Jesus Christ. "I led him in the sinner's prayer. I also prayed
that God would get us out of the elevator and about that time the doors
opened," Hickman recounted.
After the elevator's doors opened the man seemed to disappear. Hickman
said the group never saw him again, but they immediately shared with Terry
McIlvain, student evangelism director with Kansas-Nebraska Convention of
Southern Baptists, what had happened. With the help of McIlvain they left
a New Testament at the hotel's front desk for the pilot.
Bressel wrote a note to Alex and enclosed her e-mail address. Upon
arriving home from the two-day youth evangelism conference she had a reply
from Alex. He shared that the individuals who had shared with him would
never know how much he needed to receive Jesus.
Bressel's church in Salina has participated in FAITH evangelism
training, and Bressel and Hickman both give credit to FAITH for providing
them with the boldness to tell someone else about Jesus.
"FAITH has a tremendous impact on our church," reported Glenn
Davis, the church's pastor. "With Jenny and many others like her, it
has equipped them to be more comfortable to share their faith. It has
given them a plan, a format to share when situations come up like they did
First Southern Baptist Church has between 30 to 40 people who gather
each Monday night as part of the FAITH ministry.
McIlvain said 152 decisions were recorded during the "In.
D.E.P.T.H." conference. Thirty-eight young people made professions of
faith in Jesus Christ. Other decisions included six for assurance of their
salvation; two candidates for baptism; 56 rededications to their faith;
and 50 who requested prayer for events in their lives.
Students and adults gave $7,386.30 to support summer missionaries for
the 2001 Super Summer youth camps. The next In. D.E.P.T.H conference will
be Dec. 27-28, 2001, in Topeka.